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Marquette Men's Basketball: What Did We Learn This Weekend?

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Haunted Hoops was back on Friday night, and I think we learned a thing or two about what head coach Steve Wojciechowski wants to do with the 2014-15 squad.

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1) Injuries could be a problem.

But we knew that already, didn't we?  With just 10 players eligible to play this season and only nine until Luke Fischer is eligible in mid-December, any kind of positive outcome for this coming season depends on perfect health.

On Friday, Derrick Wilson did not participate in the Haunted Hoops scrimmage because of a minor groin injury incurred during practice on Thursday.  Officially, he's listed as day-to-day, so it's probably not anything to worry about by the time that games start on November 14th.  However, two things happened during the game that raised the spectre of exactly how shallow the roster is right now.

First, Matt Carlino and Deonte Burton collided while both were playing defense and that one went about as well as you would expect: Carlino got the worst of it.  He appeared to ding up his ankle a bit, but he was back at it with little visible impact after a time out.

Second, and probably more threateningly, Sandy Cohen took a tumble after a foul by Juan Anderson and went face first into the basket support.  It was a scary moment for more than just the angle of impact.  Stuff like Carlino tweaking an ankle is going to happen this season.  Minor nicks and scrapes can be played through, but losing the team's only freshman to what could have been a massive injury would have been a serious knock for Marquette basketball in the long term aspect.  Luckily, Cohen got up and shot his free throws with apparently little immediate impact, although the scrimmage was ended immediately afterwards.

2) Marquette is going to attack on defense.

With only Fischer and Steve Taylor, Jr., clearing 6'7" in height, Marquette was going to have to get creative on the defensive end this season.  It appears that the main avenue of creativity is going to be pressing after made baskets.  Marquette broke out the press at the Marquette Madness scrimmage, and it reappeared again at Haunted Hoops.

We can tie this one back to item #1, because if Marquette's going to be pressing on essentially every possession, then all ten guys are going to be called on to log minutes every night.  It might not be a lot of minutes, and it might not be a regular amount for everyone on the roster.  But regular rotations are going to be needed to keep everyone on the floor as fresh as possible.

How this will exactly play out is yet to be determined, as given the roster demands of intra-squad scrimmages, we haven't gotten a chance to see 1) who makes the starting five for Wojo or 2) who the first one or two or three off the bench are going to be.

3) Marquette's going to talk.  A lot.

As pointed out by new Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat reporter Matt Velazquez (and really, go follow the man on Twitter already), Marquette talks constantly throughout drills, and through play on the court, too.  Sports Illustrated's Brian Hamilton provides clarity on this issue in his recent profile of Wojciechowski:

Unsurprisingly, Steve Wojciechowski believes a basketball program is built on defense, energy and communication. The last part is maybe the most important. Good, direct communication can correct or preempt failings in the other areas. So at Marquette practices, in lulls or in moments of insidious quiet, the team’s first-year coach gets very direct: Get on the line.

The point guard barks out a call that is not repeated by every other player on the floor? Get on the line. The defense doesn’t talk about adjustments on the fly, or it sits idly by as the offense works the ball around? Get on the line. In the "Bulls" transition drill, if no one is shouting about who picks up the ball and who defends the rim and who accounts for trailers? On the line. Everybody. Those five guys don’t talk, the whole team pays, with a sprint the length of the floor and back. Then back to work.

It's hard to say anything about how this season is going to turn out for Marquette.  I think it's safe to say that regardless of the results in the win column turn out, we're going to get the best possible effort out of this team.  It seems that Wojciechowski is focusing his early section of his tenure as head coach getting the team focused on the things that are entirely under the team's control every single time they take the court.